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gentlemonkey

Ottawa Bluesfest rumours?

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"Andrew Bird will be playing a small number of Canadian festivals (more than 1 less than 5) according to his newsletter. He is playing Montreal Jazz Fest on July 6 so a stop at bluesfest seems likely"

- http://festival-outlook.consequenceofsound.net/fests/view/45/ottawa-bluesfest

I really hope this pans out, I'm a huge fan of Andrew Bird!!

He's amazing live! I would LOVE to see him again! Can't wait for BLUESFEST!!!

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Most of us in Ottawa know that Denis Armstrong from the Sun can be pretty off-base (to put it mildly), so here's a collection of his latest blog posts that mention Bluesfest. I added some commentary.

Bluesfest’s Mark Monahan will officially announce this year’s lineup on April 21, but hey, I can’t wait THAT long…so I’m betting The Eagles are touring with Keith Urban and The Dixie Chicks now and going right through the summer. I’m already guessing, based on nothing at all, that they’ll be playing Bluesfest this summer.

Also look for Peter Frampton, Yes and Pearl Jam to visit Bluesfest, which runs July 7-18 at the Canada War Museum.

Pearl Jam is in Europe until the 10th of July. Peter Frampton and YES are touring together and are in the western USA for the whole run of Bluesfest, unless they get out of Washington really quick and makes it here for the last day. Keith Urban is possible, he's only announced gigs in PEI, Ohio and Sarnia during Bluesfest. Eagles haven't posted a tour schedule that goes into July. Dixie Chicks haven't posted any dates for July yet, they're touring with the Eagles though.

Neil Young, Bon Jovi and Lady Gaga are all touring around Ottawa late-June early July.

Coincidence?

I think not. Expect to see them at Bluesfest because it is the biggest show outside of Parliament.

PS. The last time Lady Gaga was in Ottawa was in 2009 when she played the Bronson Centre for 200+ fans.

Possible gigs with Eric CLapton & Steve Winwood, and Rufus Wainwright.

Randy Weston might play Bluesfest, or the Jazz Festival. Either way, it’s all good.

Don’t forget Blue Rodeo and Tragically Hip!

Neil Young hasn't announced anything for July yet. Bon Jovi starts a tour in Calgary moving east across Canada on July 14, so perhaps a one-off in Ottawa or a few as-yet unannounced dates in the east could happen in the first week of Bluesfest before they go west. Lady Gaga (who almost sold-out Scotiabank Place in November - great fact-checking / memory) is in the neighbourhood with free dates during Bluesfest so that's a possibility. Clapton and Winwood are in Europe until July 13, so Bluesfest is an outside possibility. Rufus Wainwright is playing Toronto, Ste-Foy and Montreal the last week of June, then is back and forth across the pond a couple times around Bluesfest so a show here is possible. Might make more sense during Jazzfest though, to fit with his other Canadian dates. And style. Blue Rodeo, other places have said they're not playing this year but I have no clue, so we can say that's a possibility. The Hip - it's been widely reported that the Hip aren't touring this summer and Gord is, makes sense given his new album coming out. A Gord Downie show is much more probable than a Hip show.

Who’s coming to Bluesfest? Rammstein, that’s who. The German metal band that sings about such grisly subjects as sadomasochism and cannibalism has a spectacular show and should be a delightful add to my Bluesfest experience.

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Nothing much new to report from this article, except the great news that the Byward Market concert series is coming back and will be expanded this year! Awesome.

OTTAWA — Speculators line up to guess April 21 lineup launch

Everyone wants to know who's coming to Bluesfest. With the lineup set to be announced on April 21, the rumour mill is in overdrive. Acts ranging from U2 and Lady Gaga to Kings of Leon and Tom Petty are being touted as possible headliners for the 16th annual edition of the festival, set for July 7-18 on the grounds of the Canadian War Museum.

Also believed to be in the running for mainstage slots are Levon Helm, Barenaked Ladies, the Steve Miller Band, Neil Young, Keith Urban and Great Lake Swimmers. According to sources, the festival has already confirmed Australia's Crowded House for July 15, classic-rock knights Moody Blues on July 8 and metal legends Iron Maiden on July 7.

But Bluesfest co-founder and executive director Mark Monahan shrugs it all off.

"Of course people are talking but at the same time they realize that until everything's confirmed, what's the point about getting too worked up about it?" Monahan said.

Monahan declined to confirm any of the speculation, pointing out that the lineup is not yet complete.

"It's a moving target and it's definitely not done yet," Monahan said. "That's the problem. It doesn't seem to matter how long you work on it, whether you start in September or October, it always comes down to the end."

What he doesn't mind telling us is that the concert series in the Byward Market will be expanded this year, with free outdoor shows over both Bluesfest weekends, July 9-11 and July 16-18, and a full schedule of club performances. You'll have to wait even longer for that lineup; Monahan doesn't expect to announce it until May.

Behind the scenes, Monahan has been working with a new face on the programming committee (in addition to the Black Sheep Inn's Paul Symes and Spectrasonic promoter Shawn Scallen). Monahan describes Jean Beauchesne, the veteran former artistic director of Quebec City's Festival d'été, as an artistic collaborator whose knowledge of music is "phenomenal."

"He's giving me some ideas on how to draw more of a French audience and what might be popular. He's given me some good insight into that," Monahan said.

One thing about this year's booking process that has surprised organizers was the record number of local bands that applied to play. Usually, Monahan says there are around 150 Ottawa-area acts interested in performing at Bluesfest. But this year, a whopping 262 bands submitted applications, forcing the festival to come up with a weeding-out strategy.

"We've asked everyone that applied to answer some simple questions about things like their community involvement, the gigs they're playing, their recordings and their commitment to having a music career," Monahan said.

"We really had to sit and think about what's important from the festival's perspective about supporting local artists. It isn't always about the best band, it's about the commitment these guys have to making the local scene better."

Aside from programming, plans are also in the works to boost content on the festival's website. The video and calendar functions introduced last year were a huge success, Monahan said, with more than 100,000 Bluesfest events added to people's calendars and nearly 200,000 videos watched.

"It was a huge uptake on the website," Monahan says. "What it told us is the whole approach of how people are looking at the festival is really driven by the website."

Other technological advances this summer will include free Wi-Fi on site for the duration of the festival, and a cellphone application that not only provides the daily schedule but also includes a GPS-driven friend finder.

Last year's festival, which featured KISS, Joe Cocker and Ben Harper on the mainstage, attracted more than 350,000 people and generated nearly $60 million in economic benefit to the region, according to statistics gathered by the festival.

Day tickets and passports to this year's event will go on sale April 24.

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